Northeast Times

Civic group mulls joining anti-billboard battle

The Up­per Holmes­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation may join the ef­fort to re­strict the pro­lif­er­a­tion of di­git­al bill­boards and their con­ven­tion­al coun­ter­parts, stat­ic bill­boards, throughout the city. The group may also take a stand against a pro­pos­al to post more ad­vert­ising on the city’s un­used pub­lic school build­ings.

Dur­ing the UHCA’s monthly meet­ing last Thursday, the civic group’s zon­ing chair­man, Paul DeFinis, asked his neigh­bors to ad­opt those po­s­i­tions in light of re­cent pro­pos­als in City Coun­cil. 

A bill sponsored by Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on re­gard­ing bill­boards passed a com­mit­tee vote in Novem­ber and is pending be­fore the full coun­cil. It would block com­pan­ies from erect­ing new bill­boards while al­low­ing them to con­vert an ex­ist­ing stat­ic bill­board in­to a di­git­al one only if the com­pany re­moves two stat­ic bill­boards from oth­er loc­a­tions.

Mean­while, DeFinis said, while the city has been try­ing to sell many of its va­cant school build­ings to help close a budget de­fi­cit, oth­er coun­cil mem­bers have pro­posed selling ad­vert­ising space on those build­ings.

The civic zon­ing chair­man has been in con­tact with oth­er anti-bill­board act­iv­ists, not­ably Mary Tracy, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of Scen­ic Phil­adelphia, the non­profit group formerly known as SCRUB.

DeFinis pro­posed that the UHCA sub­mit to coun­cil a let­ter in sup­port of the new re­stric­tions on bill­boards.

In un­re­lated neigh­bor­hood news, UHCA board mem­ber Tom Geisler an­nounced that the 8th Po­lice Dis­trict had been as­signed 10 new po­lice of­ficers and that many of those new cops have been placed on patrol in Up­per Holmes­burg.

Geisler rep­res­ents the civic as­so­ci­ation on the 8th Po­lice Dis­trict Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil and re­cently was elec­ted as that body’s vice chair­man. He fur­ther re­por­ted that the re­cently in­creased patrols have led to a re­duc­tion in crime in the neigh­bor­hood. The com­mand­er of the 8th dis­trict is plan­ning to con­tin­ue the patrols in­to 2014, Geisler said. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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